Editor's note: Mr. Lamm is writing in response to this article.
Ms. Eckhardt portrays me as the all powerful "tree guy" who goes does not give value to our tree resource in Maplewood. Anyone who has ever spoken or dealt with me on tree issues knows that is not the case. As a New Jersey-Certified Tree Expert and the Supervisor of the Shade Tree Division in Maplewood, it is my responsibility to oversee the care and maintenance of the Township's trees.
My primary goal is to provide a 100 percent safe environment for our residents. My secondary concern is to maintain the unique aesthetic value of our street and park trees. I cannot afford to second guess a situation, especially with the proximity of compromised trees to residences. Yes, the tree in question could have roots shaved to accommodate the new sidewalk, but with the total absence of roots on the street side due to the basal canker, the tree would be a prime candidate for a blow over.
Believe me, I care immensely about our trees and their value. I will argue that to no end. For instance, we are currently working on a project that will eventually include every Township tree in a survey. This means we will visit and inspect every single Township tree sometime in the near future. We have achieved the status of Tree City (of which I am very proud) and gone above the standard, and received a Growth Award from National Arbor Day Association. Our current project is working with an independent forester and NJ-Certified Tree Expert to write our Community Forestry Management Plan.
Once written and with continued reaccreditation, we will be eligible for grants that will assist us in maintaining our trees. In addition, Maplewood now has a tree removal ordinance which protects trees from unnecessary destruction, I oversee its administration. But most importantly, I have lived in Maplewood for nearly 40 years and I love the charm that trees provide to this town. To accuse me of removing a tree for unwarranted reasons is absurd.
To the untrained eye the pin oak in question may have appeared to be a fine tree but I assure you any Certified Tree Expert or ISA Arborist would not deem the tree safe.